People in Norfolk and Waveney experiencing a mental health crisis can now benefit from a dedicated mental health response car.
The car is a joint project from the area’s mental health service provider, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), using funding from Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group.
Crewed by a paramedic and a specialist mental health practitioner, the car will respond to 999 calls across Norfolk and Waveney where there is a mental health concern. The model based on a similar scheme delivered in Cambridgeshire by EEAST is supported nationally by several ambulance led schemes.
The car will operate for the next five months from 3pm to 1am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with the aim of providing urgent care in the community.
Stuart Richardson, chief executive at NSFT said: “To have a mental health joint response car dedicated to helping those in mental health crisis is an important step forward.
“It means we can offer rapid support to those with a mental health issue in the community. Our team can triage people at home and arrange appropriate follow up care instead of a regular ambulance taking people to a hospital.
“It will ensure people get the right care at the right time and if the pilot proves successful, we hope to be able to be expand the service.”
Marcus Bailey chief operating officer at East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Delivering a health-led response to mental health need presenting through 999 services is a priority for EEAST. The roll out of such a scheme within the Norfolk and Waveney footprint is a welcome move.
"The model fits the national direction of travel for ambulance Trusts in meeting need presenting through the 999 system. Delivering an integrated model that delivers specialist support at the point of need is central to delivering this. The scheme also supports the wider EEAST ambition around decreasing stigma and delivering parity of care to all patients”
NSFT’s first response helpline is also available 24 hours a day seven days a week for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 0808 196 3494.